WordPress 3.1, or “Reinhardt”, is now available in its full release. As you run over to download it, or run the automatic update through your Dashboard, keep this page open in a tab. We’ve reviewed what’s new in the latest (and greatest?) version of WordPress, and give you all of the most up to date information.
We’ll walk you through what’s notable and new, and give you links to the initial resources we’re aware of. If you’re already using WordPress 3.1, jump down to the comments and tell us about your experience so far.
Probably the most anticipated and most debated feature for 3.1, post formats allow an author to specify one of ten standard formats for a post to be displayed. The ten post formats to be supported by 3.1 are default (the post format we all know), aside, chat, gallery, link, image, quote, status, video, and audio.
The custom formats are really no more than taxonomies that get a special seat under the “publish” meta box of the post editor. Originally the post format selection was going to be made within the publish meta box. The big question to me is what features, or lack of, will each format be boxed with? A partial (and subject to change) description of how WordPress will handle the standard formats can be found in the new codex page on post formats.
The basis of the post format debate is whether theme authors should be allowed to extend post formats beyond the standard ones. Suggested examples for additional formats have been for things like code, lists, events, generic media, “blog” posts ( rather than default ), products and more. Whether these ideas have merit or not, the point is the concept of extensibility. It appears themes that extend non-standard formats with the post format markup will not be approved for the .org theme repository. The main idea behind strict standardization is to encourage developers to broadly support a smaller set and to allow for portability from theme to theme.
It may also be worth noting that post formats are not the same as custom post types. However, formats will undoubtedly replace a tendency by many users to use custom post types in circumstances where a post format is more applicable. On the other side of that coin, some of the non-standard format ideas listed above may be better suited as custom post types.
Custom post type archives
By default WordPress 3.0 does not index custom post types. For instance, let’s say WPCandy created a ‘product’ post type (which is not the case) that can be accessed via wpcandy.com/sells/product-x. Well that’s great, but if you just want to see all things WPCandy sells, WordPress doesn’t index wpcandy.com/sells unless the theme developer creates a specific page template for that query. 3.1 generates this type of “archive” for custom post types without a custom template.
Custom post type admin menu handling
One handy feature that’s going into 3.1 is the ability to customize the way admin menus are handled for custom post types. In 3.0 a custom post type standardly gets a top level menu location, but 3.1 will allow you to customize where they go and how to handle them. Andrew Nacin, a WordPress core contributor, used the example that a developer may want to create a custom post type called ‘Slideshow’ and include it under the already existing ‘Media’ menu rather than its own new one. Read more about this feature in his blog post about it.
Query multiple taxonomies
Custom taxonimies are awesome. Now we can filter posts using them in an awesome way. Suppose we wanted to set up a query to allow users to see posts about Automattic that aren’t about Matt on WPCandy? Because WPCandy has the ‘people’ taxonomy and the ‘company’ taxonomy, we can now query posts about ‘Automattic’ AND not about ‘Matt’. Otto has put up a nice post to go into further detail on multiple taxonomy queries. Are you imagining like I am all the fun ways you can now filter your content using this feature?
Sortable columns and admin ajaxification
This is a very nice enhancement of the interaction with the WordPress admin. Columns are now sortable. Search and admin pagination were going to be ajaxified, but got caught up and have been put off for 3.1. This project was a GSoC project of Cristi Burca, who has even shared how to make our own columns sortable as well.
Super admin network dashboard
Multisite users will get a new super admin dashboard with its own menu.php and pages. It declutters the regular admin dashboard for individual sites.
User admin dashboard
In the spirit of the super admin dedicated dashboard, it was suggested to create a user admin dedicated dashboard. Ryan Boren described its purpose on the trac ticket:
Some of the same fixes are needed for both network and user admin. The user admin part of this is purposefully limited to offering a way to get rid of the dashboard blog stuff. If a user does belong to a blog, then all user related stuff happens there and not in the user admin.
Also know as: tab overload prevention. Everyone should love this. There is now no need to open new tabs and search your own blog externally to link back to an old article. The new internal linking system is integrated into the existing button. The new display has the traditional linking methods on top and a search posts / list of posts on bottom for internal linking.
WordPress.com-style admin bar
The admin bar from WordPress.com is shifting to .org. Some wanted to keep this functionality as a plugin, and some development delays almost got it pushed to 3.2. However, everything seems in order and ready to go for a 3.1 release. The bar comes standard with 5 parent menu items plus a search box on the right hand side.
A few highlights for 3.1 are cleanup projects to make WordPress more user friendly or just better put together. Tiny MCE is getting a facelift. Theme searching will become more like the .com experience. The admin css files were obliterated and redone by John O’Nolan and the WordPress UI group.
QuickPress enhancements to handle custom post types and be front-end ready have been moved to 3.2. This was a cool feature that was planned for 3.1, but Nacin described it in Trac like this:
Ultimately, a group of contributors needs to run with something like this to truly make it properly flexible. This didn’t see much traction beyond the fine work by jorbin.
Have you updated yet?
There are a number of other cool changes that you can check out on the 3.1 codex.
After two beta releases and four release candidates, WordPress 3.1 is finally here. It should be pretty darn stable. It has also been running on WordPress.com since mid November of 2010.
If you’ve braved the newness of WordPress 3.1 and installed either the branch version or a beta / release candidate, comment and let us know what your experience has been like. More importantly, is there a 3.1 update you love that’s not included here? What’s new and exciting to you?